By as much criticism as Battlefield 2042 picked up last year for being released without a traditional scoreboard, this has been normal for the past six years of Overwatch. Overwatch’s score screen lets you see your own performance stats, like your kill and kill counts, but overshadows the stats of your teammates and enemies. Well, don’t overshadow it anymore: Overwatch 2’s new PvP beta has a real and honest score, and it’s pushing me to the limit.
There’s nothing inherently scary about a full-color spreadsheet, of course, but I’m skeptical that this one will make Overwatch 2 any more fun. At worst, the new scoreboard can make Overwatch 2 less fun, especially for solo players.
Tension mounts in competitive shooters, especially in games like Overwatch where a single underperforming teammate can be the difference between a team winning or losing. There’s a lot of pressure to perform well – if not to win the match, then at least to avoid being harassed by other players in text messages or voice chat.
Having all of your stats exposed, as in CS:GO, Valorant, and Rainbow Six Siege, gives teammates and enemies ammunition to ‘back up’ abusive comments or other generally bad behavior. Overwatch 2’s scoreboard isn’t uncommon, but part of Overwatch’s appeal is that it doesn’t try to be like other team shooters, so I’m not sure why it is now.
Regular Overwatch forgoes a normal scoreboard for a medal system that was truly designed to stem the toxicity of stat-obsessed teammates. Your individual stats can have gold, silver, or bronze medals that tell you how you’re stacking up against your team – if you have a gold medal in damage, for example, you’ve dealt the most damage on your team. Silver is in second place, bronze is third. Medals are an effective way to quickly know how you’re doing without having a definitive view of your teammates’ numbers, but that hasn’t stopped players from pitching them against each other. It is common for players to use their medals as proof that the rest of the team is doing poorly. In this way, obfuscation can sometimes lead to misguided accusations or serve as camouflage for critical teammates. That arrogant Genji bragging about his gold medals will naturally leave out the part where he died eight times and drained all of Mercy’s revives.
When medals aren’t enough, meddlesome players peek into teammates’ career profile pages to see the previous season’s rankings or how many hours they played with their current hero. “Lmao on this shitty 12 hour Mercy,” a colleague of mine once commented. Profile stimulation has become so intrusive and abusive that most competitive gamers these days have their profiles set to private.
So no, Overwatch’s current systems aren’t a silver bullet for toxicity, but a fully transparent scoreboard doesn’t solve the problem either. At best, having a larger context for a match is helpful in explaining what went right or wrong. In a friendly environment, this can be constructive. But if useful stats are the goal, Overwatch 2’s scoreboard is already missing.
It’s amazing that in Overwatch 2, an objective-based game, none of the scoreboard stats have anything to do with the objective. K/D relationships and healing values aren’t everything. A disorganized Soldier can harm the team by not protecting their supports. A Mercy complaining of losing after healing 10,000 damage may have underutilized her damage boost. Meanwhile, the medalless Ana, who pushed the charge while everyone else ran ahead, receives zero props on the scoreboard. At worst, the Overwatch 2 scoreboard means idiots now have more tools to be idiots. Unfortunately, these games attract a lot of idiots, so the cons outweigh the pros in my eyes.
Having spent years in the Rainbow Six Siege lobbies, I would readily give up detailed stats if it made your players relax. I really don’t need a casual game of Overwatch to include my K/D relationship being mocked by the enemy team’s Cassidy. It can be fun to compare stats with my friends, so maybe a good compromise would be to just show my stats to my group.
Blizzard has made it clear that nothing in the Overwatch 2 beta should be considered final, so it’s possible the scoreboard will look different when it launches.